Building resumes.. Kind of!


Well it certainly has been a while since I worked on a kit, and whilst not technically building I did manage to dig the Revell SR-71 from the bowels of the cupboard it’s been stored in for the last however many months it has been and look it over.

Truth be told I couldn’t really remember what I was doing with it before it got boxed away so whilst my workbench isn’t actually back in location I managed to set the spray booth up on a coffee table and get a coat of Vallejo black primer down on her to have a look see at the state of play.

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A quick coat of Vallejo Black Primer went down on the SR-71

So whilst the coat wasn’t the most even I have ever put down it did show up a couple of issues, a slip with the scribe became obvious as did an area near the cockpit that would need a little further attention with the filler and a sanding pad.

Whilst these aren’t too major an issue I think I may need to wait until I have my bench set up again before I tackle the issues.

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Nothing a little filler and sanding can’t fix, although I am puzzled as to how it occurred.

Workbench should be going into place later this week, although I am also looking to increase my work area with the addition of a new bench, the better half is also going to be joining me in the studio once her jewellers work bench arrives and then I am also looking to add a laser cutter / engraver to the studio too.

Exciting times are ahead but first of all we have the largest show on my calender this year, the Scottish National Scale Model Show 2019. Whilst I don’t think I will be in much of a position to enter anything this year, truth be told I will struggle to add much to the clubs display either as many of my built models have been damaged during the home renovations.

Whilst the damage for most of the kits should be easily repairable it does give me the opportunity to cherry pick the ones I actually want to put back on display, whilst replacing those I don’t want back on display is providing a good reason to get back building regularly again.

 

 

Book Review: De Havilland Comet. The World’s First Commercial Jetliner

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This volume of World’s Greatest Airliners looks at what in my opinion is one of the most beautiful airliners to grace the sky, De Havilland’s Comet. The book’s concise text is accompanied throughout by some fantastic images of the aircraft, and whilst I could never grow tired of looking at photos of the Comet, its storied history during such a time of development and change for the aviation industry makes for great reading.

The book begins with a brief introduction describing the build up to the Comet’s first flight, an event that saw Britain as the world leaders of jet airliner development, barely four years since the end of the second World War.

We then jump back 7 years to look at the circumstances that lead to the development of the Comet. The formation of the Brabazon Committee during the war believed that there would be the need for 6 different types of aircraft to serve the Empire’s post war civil aviation requirements, Type IV being the most radical of the requirements. This was a demand for the fully jet powered airliner the Comet was to end up fulfilling.

The book follows the Comet’s rapid development, from authorisation to production in barely 4 years, leading up to that exciting afternoon on the 27th of July 1949 that saw her roar into the skies above the Hatfield factory.

Continuing to look at the Comet’s seemingly unstoppable rise, the initial success and the development of the Comet is covered. This saw it grow not only in engine power, efficiency and customers, but even in size as the Comet 3 prototype comprised of longer fuselage to accommodate increased passengers and fuel loads as the Comet moved, without rival, into routes all over the world. All with levels of luxury not before seen in the sky.

On we continue to what was some of the darkest days for the type, the loss of multiple aircraft and many lives lead to the grounding of the entire Comet fleet in 1954. The subsequent investigations are looked at as well as briefly describing the testing methods that lead to discovery of the ultimate cause of the accidents.

The rebirth of Comet which saw the development of the airframe into the larger Comet 3 and 4 saw BOAC again place its faith in the type. Indeed, it used the extensive testing period the Comet had endured because of the 1954 accidents to its advantage describing the Comet 4 as ‘The worlds most tested jetliner’

Next, we move on to the Comet’s slow decline that begins with BOAC, the Comets biggest supporter to date, moving its fleet over to the larger Boeing 707 to enable it to remain competitive on the scheduled routes whilst moving its fleet of Comets to its smaller subsidiary airlines across the Empire.

Overseas operators are covered next with Comets being used by airlines across the world, but the aviation industries shift towards chartered flights during the 60’s for the rapidly expanding package holiday market was already seeing the type become uncompetitive.

Still the type was to remain in service with what had become the operator of the single largest fleet of Comets, Dan-Air, until the end of 1980 when the type made its final commercial flight.

As the book nears its end it looks at the Comet’s service with the RAF. The chapter covers the roles of types during their service with 216 Squadron and 192 Squadron, the latter being renumbered 51 Squadron, before the most extensive modifications saw the Comet inspired maritime patrol aircraft The Nimrod come into existence.

Before ending the book, the author treats us to a chapter of anecdotes from RAF Comet pilots Brian Burdett and Peter Bowright

As you may guess by the way I go on a bit in this review this is an aircraft and story I love. The tale of its birth from war time meetings to its retirement at the dawn of the 1980s is one that provides times of fantastic highs of record-breaking journeys and cutting-edge development and terrible lows.

It took place during a time of great turmoil for the British aviation industry, which saw many of the famous names from wartime aviation disappear. Whether that be due to liquidation or their merger into large corporations desperately trying to be able to keep the British aviation industry competitive and relevant on a global stage.

Thanks to the author, this is a story any aviation fan can enjoy. Whilst including enough detail to keep the enthusiast interested, I think the balance is well done and it should not be off putting to those with just a passing interest in the subject and throughout, the story is accompanied by an array of beautiful photographs.

I would as always like to thank Pen and Sword books for allowing me the opportunity to review this book. You can pick up your copy of this book, along with many more great titles at their website.

Peel the masking


I don’t know about you guys but I love this bit, removing the masking from the main scheme and you really get the sense of what the finished article is going to look like. Anyway having removed the masking I now need to add a load more masking in order to paint the red pinstripes and tail sections.

You Spin Me Right Round!


Propeller assembly is now complete and painted up. I have done a little work on the main seam on the fuselage so its almost done. I have also now put the main parts of the wings together and again the fit it pretty good, very little work is going to be needed on the seams once the glue has dried.

Progress on the F-5A


Just a quick update on the F-5A Tiger Hobbies kit I am working on at the moment. As you will see from the top image I had a small problem when removing the wings from the Sprue Gates.

One of the wings was fine and only had 3 or 4 gates holding it in place, however the other wing had 7 or 8 gates holding it in place and unfortunately as I was trimming them the ones on the trailing edge of the wing snapped off of their own volition and chomped the wing a little.

Thanks to a little minor surgery and some of that Deluxe Plastic Putty stuff I have got it looking half decent again. Not much left now before paint, Yay!

F-5A Update


Well I got some more time at the bench and ask you can see from the photos I have managed to decipher enough of the fag packet instructions that come with this model to get the cockpit together and the in place and assemble the main two halves of the fuselage.

I love getting this stage done on any build as next is attaching the wings etc and this is when a build really starts to take shape!

Next Up On The Bench! 1/72 Folland Gnat by Airfix


Ok so I had a look at my stack of kits and have decided to go simple with my next build. I am dropping down on scale to 1/72 and have picked out Airfix’s Folland Gnat T.1 Kit.

This kit is one of Airfix’s new tooling kits and on opening the box the I have to say the detailing does look great. Recessed panel lines look good, cockpit parts look pretty detailed compared to the Airfix kits of old.

I will be building this kit out of box with no aftermarket parts, although even with a kit as small as this in 1/72 there is a resin pit upgrade kit available made by Pavla. Truth be told I did consider ordering it but I decided I would build this as standard stock and then if I liked the result I would pick up another kit and the resin upgrade and build another but with a different scheme.

For this build I will be painting/detailing her in the scheme on the box art, Central Flying School, RAF Little Rissington, 1964.

The First Mistake of Many!


So it really didn’t take long for me to make my first mistake when building this kit. As is almost always recommended for model aircraft I started with the cockpit. Sub assembly wasnt without issue due to the poor quality of the moulding with my kit, some parts clearly hadn’t had enough plastic resin injected into them and were actually incomplete!
But the whole point of this kit was too blow off the cobwebs and I knew I was going to make many errors on the way so I wasnt too fussed. The parts were assembled and detail painted.

As I mentioned its been a fair few years since I have built a kit, and I pretty much have always been a brush painter. The last kit I built which was an F-117 I did play about with a couple of cheap airbrushes running on cans of propellant as a tool for mass coverage but thats about it. Well being at the Model Show and seeing peoples results from using an airbrush and I was a convert.

I managed to convince my better half to buy me a small compressor and airbrush (more about which can be found in the equipment section soon) so of course I needed a booth with extractor naturally. Well it all pretty much arrived at the the same time.

So I’ve taken my time getting here but here was mistake number one, all my
new toys arrived and I was just itching to give them all a go so no sooner was I home from work that everything was unboxed, set up and ready to go. I cemented the fuselage together (ignoring the horrific fit and step between the two halves) and got to airbrushing on a primer and then the base grey coat.

It wasn’t until after this though that I noticed, sitting on the desk in front of the new spray booth and the freshly painted carcass of the F-5, was the cockpit sub assembly, you can actually see it in the photo above, sitting next to the craft knife on the right. In my rush I had forgotten all about it and had to crack the fuselage back open to install it!